image024image02A map of inventoried trees in Kit Carson Park, Taos, NM (different colors represent tree species)SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico’s community trees provide us cooling shade and a calming backdrop to our lives. The first statewide inventory and health assessment of community trees is now available to the public online. Approximately 7,000 trees were assessed by the State Forestry Division in cities, towns, and villages across New Mexico over a three-year period using historical record and on-site analysis.

“We benefit every day from the trees in our parks, along streets, at schools and other public buildings, but we had very little information on those trees,” said Jennifer Dann, Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager at New Mexico State Forestry. “The understanding we gained from this assessment allows us to make better management decisions in the future.” 

Inventories were done on trees in each of New Mexico’s county seats, to capture the wide range of community size and tree growing conditions across the state. Data was collected on tree species, size, health condition, location, and maintenance requirements for trees in public spaces and the public right of way. Certified arborists led the tree inventories, with the assistance of community staff and/or volunteers. 

As part of the project, historical research was conducted on how non-native trees came to New Mexico, and what drove the planting of trees in our community spaces. “The storytelling of New Mexico’s community trees ended up being one of the most valuable aspects of the project,” said Dann. “It has helped us connect with our community trees in a new way and provided a framework for us to think about future management.” 

Funding for the project was provided by the USDA Forest Service under the Landscape Scale Restoration Grant program, and the project was administered by the State Forestry Division. Groundwork Studios in Albuquerque was the lead contractor for the project.

Results of the project, including the individual tree data, statewide assessment summary, and historical research, can be accessed at the StoryMap website created by Groundwork Studios for the project:www.tinyurl.com/urbantreesnm. For more information about the project, contact Jennifer Dann, Urban and Community Forestry Manager at New Mexico State Forestry, (505) 345-2200 x104 orjenniferl.dann@state.nm.us. 

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